Men Tell Health is devoted to adult men and mental health. That doesn't mean that if you're not a man or don't suffer with mental health issues that you're not welcome here. Absolutely not. Maybe you're a guy who cares for a partner, sibling or parent with mental health issues. Perhaps you suffer with some form of mental illness yourself or simply love, look after or even just know a man who does, there will be something on this site for you. If there isn't, just let us know and we'll do our very best to rectify that.
This isn't a site for those looking for mental health advice for children or young people. There are many great specialised sites (like Papyrus or Young Minds) which specialise in this particular field, but Men Tell Health is not one of those. So what are we about?
As a site, Men Tell Health grew from humble beginnings. Gary, our founder, suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), acute anxiety and depression. Initially he started Men Tell Health as a personal blog to record his thoughts, fears, worries and general musings on his mental health conditions, but also how they affected those around him. Despite it being a serious subject, Gary always tried to observe his mental health with a sense of humour to show that depression doesn't have to be depressing and that there is strength in comedy. We've tried to continue his irreverent sense of humour into the whole site - never mocking mental health, but offering a different take on such a debilitating illness. Incidentally, all his earlier blogs have been transported to this one, so take a look.
From those first blogs, the site grew quickly. A piece about his condition featured on the Mind website, he (or rather the site) was the runner-up in the 2014 This Week in Mentalists (TWIM) Awards for the Best Blog in the Humour category and has also featured on a podcast with The Naked Scientists about PTSD. After a period of quiet, Men Tell Health was reborn, like some sort of bird that comes back to life, devoted to helping men, blokes, gadgies, geezers and dudes around the world through the sometimes murky world of mental illness.
As a man, being affected by mental illness isn't a sign of weakness. The 21st century throws more and more and more at us that we, as people, just aren't designed to cope with it all. There's just too much 'stuff' going on that we can't be expected to handle it all on our own. Sooner or later, something's going to break.
In this modern world, everyone seems to be connected to everyone else through the power of the internet, yet somehow, all of these connections mean to tend to talk 'at' each other, rather than 'to' each other. Asking for help doesn't make you any less of a man, in fact it's the exact opposite. The stereotype that 'women are emotional' and men should be the 'strong silent type' doesn't help either genders. We're all just people.
In the UK, 75% of those who seek treatment for depression are women, yet suicide is the biggest killer of men aged between 20 and 49. Of the 5981 suicides in 2012, 76% of them were men. In 2013, it went up to 78%. Sadly, this statistic is repeated all over the world. It eclipses road traffic accidents, military service, cancer or any other medical condition. We can't allow this trend to continue. We simply can NOT!
With help and guidance of this site and the fantastic community we're building every day, we truly believe that we can conquer these terrible statistics in the only way possible. Together. We appreciate that pride, pressure, embarrassment and those overwhelming feelings of powerlessness can be incredibly hard to get over, especially for men. We know what it's like to fight, to keep that 'stiff upper lip', to wear that mask of 'normality'. We've been there, we've done it and we've got the t-shirt (we haven't washed it yet, we really should...it stinks). We also know those small words can be large barriers to seeking help, but we are determined to help you get over all of those things. There should be no stigma to mental illness and we'll keep fighting until it vanishes completely. It's not about being told to 'man up', or 'step up', we have to open up.
We aim to do this in a way that offers knowledge, inspiration, comeradery and humour. Not that we are trying to make light of the condition. Not. At. All. The team at Men Tell Health ALL have lived experience of mental illness and are proud 'mentalists', but we are also not prepared to be 'victims' of mental illness. You won't see any pictures of the 'head-clutcher' on this site! We're real people, with real lives, with real mental health problems. We are not defined by the conditions we have, we just happen to live with them. So there! If you're the same, join us and let's help everyone who wants it.
In the coming weeks, months and years, the site will be growing even bigger, both online and into the community. We want to start offering peer support groups in the local community and run a number of initiatives aimed squarely at men and their concerns by working with other groups and organisations who are as passionate about mental health as we are. If you're one of them, just let us know. We're more powerful together.
The more men talk about mental illness, the more men ask. The more men ask, the more Men Tell. (see what we did there!).
If you'd like to share your recovery story, your viewpoint or your experience of mental illness so other people will see that their not alone, we have a section just for you. Write a blog, a poem or a story. Draw a picture or sing a song. Whatever you like. We'd love to see (or hear) it.
To read the stories we have already, just click the link below.
To support the work we're doing now and help us develop some exciting projects in the future, please consider donating to the cause. You can do that in a number of ways, not all of which are financial.
Order a wristband, donate money to help us drive the site forward, fundraise for us, volunteer your time, knowledge or services. Whatever it is, we'd be soooooooooo grateful.
So take a look around the site. Any text in blue is a link to 'something'. Let us know what you think. Make yourself at home, just remember to flush and always put the toilet seat down. Women get SO mad about that for some reason!